For innovative types, there’s no such thing as a single-purpose machine. Smart people all around the world are finding creative things to do with their electric waffle makers besides making waffles, and I’m happy to share some of their best ideas with you.
And these aren’t just tidbits I’ve picked up online. I have an Oster Belgian waffle maker that I use every week — and often not just to make waffle. But you don’t need one like mine for great results. Just about any waffle maker will perform extra duties for you if you give it the chance.
Don’t believe a machine made for making breakfast can do so much more? Here are 10 great alternative uses for your waffle iron:
1. Make cookies. Any store-bought or homemade dough will do, but stiffer doughs work best. Cook on the medium setting for about 90 seconds, oiling or spraying your waffle iron if things tend to stick.
2. Warm leftover pizza. I actually like pizza cold, but the crust can get soggy. Use your unit open to crisp the crust slightly or close it gently to heat the whole piece thoroughly in about a minute.
3. Make hashbrowns. I haven’t tried this yet, but many users swear that hashbrowns made from fresh potatoes — not those frozen things — come out perfectly if made on a waffle iron. Simply squeeze out water and season to taste before cooking.
4. Do some French toast. Just dip your bread in whatever egg wash or batter you like, then let your handy little unit do the cooking. It takes a minute or a minute and a half and doesn’t require nearly as much oil as a traditional skillet.
5. Try a grilled cheese sandwich. A couple of pieces of Cheddar or American between two slices of buttered-on-the-outside white bread is traditional, but you can mix things up if you want. Cooking time is about two minutes.
6. Press a panini. Depending on the thickness your waffle iron can accommodate, you may have to keep your sandwich on the thin side, but let the machine do some pressing for you. A pressed sandwich looks and tastes better with little waffle marks on it anyway.
7. Grill a burger. There’s a bit of clean up, admittedly, but your machine has more than enough power to cook a burger. Don’t press too hard, and don’t make sweet waffles afterwards until you’ve cleaned up thoroughly.
8. Try cornbread. Cornbread batter is actually quite similar to waffle batter, but fresh cornbread is much better with a stew or beans than a waffle! Just be sure the batter isn’t too runny or you’ll have a mess that won’t cook well.
9. Cook some falafel. These Mediterranean chickpea patties just need heating and browning, so give them a try. Again, make sure to clean up well because falafel is often highly spiced, and you don’t want any residue on your other foods.
10. Make refrigerated crescent rolls. These are amazing — and it’s so much more efficient than warming the oven. You just need 90 seconds or so, and you can do breadsticks, biscuits or just about any other kind of bread that comes from the store in a can.
So go ahead.
Get the best Belgian waffle maker you can find or just drag out whatever kind of unit you have. Then give some of these things a try.
The worst case scenario is that you’ll have a bit of a mess to clean up in your waffle maker. The best case scenario is that you’ll discover a quick and easy new way to make some great food for you and your family.